Tag Archives: Ficker Cup


Racing continues off Belmont Pier today for the Crimson Blazer

LONG BEACH, CALIF 21 APRIL 2018 – – Does Ficker make you quicker?

Photo Credit: Tom Walker

Stage One of the 54th Congressional Cup regatta wrapped up with the final two races of Round Robins, advancing Dean Barker (USA), Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Sam Gilmour (AUS) to the semi-finals.

Racing concludes tomorrow Sunday April 22, in this World Sailing Grade One Match Race event, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.

Both Barker and Berntsson had qualified for Congressional Cup through the Ficker Cup regatta last weekend. A Grade Two regatta, the Ficker Cup is prestigious in its own right, but also a stepping stone to the Congressional Cup; with the top two advancing to this week’s competition. It was founded in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, a legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup, spawning the slogan ‘Ficker is Quicker.’

“We haven’t match raced for a long, long time,” admitted Barker, whose American Magic team represents the New York Yacht Club’s challenge for the 36th America’s Cup. Ficker Cup, he said, “was without question a great opportunity for our team to practice, spend time together and dust out a bit of the rust.”
That training has paid off, as Barker dominated the Congressional Cup; today relinquishing today only his second loss of the series, to fellow Ficker Cup player Berntsson.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels


The final two flights of the Round Robin series were raced under hazy skies and a blustery breeze that waned as the day wore on.

Coming into Saturday after a successful Day Three, Ian Williams (GBR) stood just one point out of contention for semi-finals, with two decisive races to go.

Already, rival Harry Price’s (AUS) destiny was set; out of striking range of Stage Two, as was Scott Dickson (USA), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), Eric Monnin (SUI), and Chris Steele (NZL).

But Williams was still in the hunt. If he could win both races, and Gilmour or Berntsson lost theirs, the semis were in his sights.

In Flight 16, on the first downwind leg, Price and Williams were bow to bow; but Williams outwitted Price at the gate to take the lead. Splitting the course on the second downwind run, Price covered and began to reel Williams in. But Williams, leeward, pressed him past the layline; hoisting a jib for the final stretch of the ‘downwind’ leg, to capture that win.

In his final match of the day, however, Williams succumbed to Canfield after sailing into slightly lighter air; propelling Canfield into second place, with 13-5.

Meanwhile Barker and Berntsson had a “dramatic” match, with Barker’s start less aggressive than normal – perhaps as he already had his spot in the semis sewn up. But as the match progressed, the tacking duels began, and the racing heated up. By the final downwind leg, Barker forced Berntsson to the pin end of the line; a deliberate infringement on Barker earned Berntsson a red flag penalty. Still continuing to battle, both pros spun upwind with their spinnakers aloft, creating a tangle of wayward kites. Barker’s team, penalized for not keeping clear, watched as Berntsson dumped their chute and slipped across the line. “The drama was at the 120-percent level,” Berntsson said, “complete mayhem.”

Despite that loss, Barker completed the series with an impressive 16-2 record. “It was a tough double Round Robin, with a lot of very close races, but we came out on the right side of a lot of them,” said Barker. “We learned some very good lessons. Going into the semis, I’m very confident we can keep stringing good races together.”

Canfield finished 13-5; while Berntsson and Gilmour edged out Williams, each 12-6.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels


A haze of warm tropical air settled over San Pedro Bay as the semi-finals commenced. Canfield bested Berntsson in their first match, while Barker clashed with Gilmour. In a fierce bout, which celebrity commentator Tucker Thompson called a ‘trans-Tasman battle,’ Barker attacked Gilmour, who was struggling with an hourglassed spinnaker in the pre-start. “It’s like a cat toying with his prey,” Thompson winced, as Barker continued dizzying attacks on Gilmour, winning the start. Although Gilmour was able to shake it off and recover, Barker continued to extend his lead and finished nearly a minute ahead of his young rival.

Racing will continue tomorrow, with the first to three points advancing to the finals of the Congressional Cup. Petit-final races will also be held to determine third and fourth place, while the balance of the teams compete in a fleet race around the Bay.


Enjoy stadium viewing of the Congressional Cup free at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, 15 39th Place, Long Beach, Calif. Parking, facilities and food service are available.

Live commentary on-site, by celebrity announcer Tucker Thompson, is accompanied by large screen TVs highlighting multiple camera angles, including 360-degree Samsung Virtual Reality camera footage from the race boats; and feature segments by Australian Producer/Actress Camilla Jackson, for a fully immersive and entertaining experience. Racing and commentary is live-streamed on Facebook @CongressionalCup and YouTube. Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for full information.

THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP is one of the most prestigious top-level yachting events in the world. Established by LBYC in 1965, it is recognized as the ‘grandfather’ of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago. Each year, this competition for the prestigious Congressional Cup trophy and Crimson Blazer features an elite delegation of the world’s best sailors competing in five days of rousing matches, in the waters off Long Beach, Calif.



Dean Barker (USA)                           16

Taylor Canfield (USA)                      13

Johnie Berntsson (SWE)                  12

Sam Gilmour (AUS)                          12

Ian Williams   (GBR)                          10

Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)     6

Eric Monnin  (SUI)                            6

Scott Dickson (USA)                        5

Chris Steele  (NZL)                           5

Harry Price    (AUS)                          4




Taylor Canfield                                 1

Dean Barker                                      1

Johnie Berntsson                             0

Sam Gilmour                                     0


LONG BEACH, CALIF  14 April 2018 – The breeze on Day Two of the Ficker Cup may have been shifty, but “steady” was the name of the game for Dean Barker and team American Magic, as they clung to the top of the leaderboard, with six wins and no losses in the series’ second Round Robin.

The Ficker Cup is a World Sailing Grade Two regatta – prestigious in its own right, but significant as a stepping stone to the Congressional Cup. Founded in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, a legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup and won the Congressional Cup in 1974, it offers world-class match racing action in an equalized fleet of one-design Catalina 37s yachts.

And today, all eyes were on the scoreboard, as Dean Barker, USA, solidified his first place position and advancement to the semi-finals tomorrow, along with Johnie Berntsson, SWE, 5-1. Chris Poole, USA, and Leonard Takahashi, JAP, both 3-3, also proceed to the semis – edging out competitor and LBYC Staff Commodore Dave Hood, defeated in the tie-breaker.

Ficker Cup racing will continue tomorrow Sunday April 15 at approximately 11:30AM off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can watch the action live. While today’s breeze built to 11 knots from the southwest, tomorrow’s forecast is for slightly lighter wind conditions.

The top two Ficker Cup finalists will advance to the Congressional Cup, the ‘granddaddy’ of modern world-class match racing, founded by Long Beach Yacht Club in 1965.

“What The Masters Green Jacket is to pro golfing, the Crimson Blazer is to yacht racing,” explained Congressional Cup Chairman Eric Dickinson. “The Congressional Cup is one of the most prestigious yacht racing events in the world and a gateway to the America’s Cup; and the members of Long Beach Yacht Club are proud to present this premier event for the 54th year.”

Full further information and results please visit www.lbyc.org; for information on the Congressional Cup visit www.thecongressionalcup.com


Results  Day 2





1 Dean Barker USA/– 6-1 6-0
2 Johnie Berntsson SWE/154 6-1 5-1
3 Chris Poole USA/54 4-3 3-3
4 Leonard Takahashi JAP/14 4-3 3-3
5 Dave Hood USA/136 2-5 3-3
6 Peter Holz USA/24 2-5 2-4
7 Maxime Mesnil FRA/4 3-4 1-5
8 Vladimir Lipavsky RUS/16 1-6 1-5



LONG BEACH, CALIF 19 MARCH 2018 – – With just one month to Long Beach Yacht Club’s 54thCongressional Cup regatta, excitement is building! In addition to an all-star lineup for April 18-22 Congressional Cup racing – including five of the world’s top-ten ranked match racing skippers – the lead-in Ficker Cup regatta promises dazzling action too: with sailing legends Dean Barker and Terry Hutchinson mixing it up with match racing’s most up-and-coming skippers.

THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP is one of the most prestigious top-level yachting events in the world.Established in 1965, it is recognized as the “grandfather” of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago. Each year, this World Sailing Grade One competition features an elite delegation of the world’s best sailors competing in five days of rousing matches, in the waters off Long Beach, Calif.

This year Ian Williams (GBR) returns to defend his title, against Taylor Canfield (ISV), Harry Price (AUS), Sam Gilmour (AUS), Chris Steele (NZL), Eric Monnin (SUI), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), Scott Dickson (USA) and two yet-undecided foes.

Racing will take place starting Wednesday April 18, commencing at approximately 11:30AM daily, at Congressional Cup Stadium off the Belmont Memorial Veterans Pier. The pier offers superb viewing, with live commentary, food and drink vendors, and the camaraderie of other sailing fanatics. Double round robin, semi-finals, petit final, and final races will run through Sunday April 22, when the winner hoists the silver Congressional Cup and dons the prestigious Crimson Blazer!

THE FICKER CUP was established in 1980 by the Long Beach Yacht Club to honor Bill Ficker, winning skipper of the 1970 America’s Cup and Star boat champion. A World Sailing Grade Two match racing event, the Ficker Cup is a distinguished competition in its own right, with lively double round robin racing leading up to a series of finals. But, in addition to the esteemed Ficker Cup trophy, this event is a qualifier for Congressional Cup: launching the top two finishers directly into the fray the following week.

That’s how Hutchinson won his Congressional Cup berth in 1992 – and went on to victory. He returns this year with Barker, Congressional Cup winner in 2000 and 2005. Barker and Hutchinson are representing the New York Yacht Club’s recently announced partnership with Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association, established to challenge for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.

These seasoned pros will be fighting against several promising match racing skippers – including some 20 years their junior, such as Leonard Takahashi – for the right to compete in the Congressional Cup.

Takahashi, a 23-year-old from Japan, swept the Musto International Youth Match Racing Champs World Sailing Grade Two event in December, to earn a Ficker Cup invitation.

But don’t rule out Johnie Berntsson; also competing in Ficker Cup this year in the hopes of an entry into Congressional Cup. Last year, Berntsson was a Congressional Cup invitee: “on fire” according to his rivals, he finished second in the 2017 Congressional Cup, behind six-time match racing World Champion Williams.

All told, April promises to be a month of thrilling world class racing, with three days of Ficker Cup sailing.April 13-15 followed by five days of Congressional Cup racing, April 18-22.


To get a full dose of race atmosphere with stadium viewing, watch live from Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, at 15 39th Place, in Long Beach, Calif.

Ficker Cup: highlights and results will be posted on the web at www.thecongressionalcup.com

Congressional Cup: Live-streaming on Facebook @CongressionalCup and on the Congressional Cup website at www.thecongressionalcup.com. Coverage will include skipper interviews; results and daily highlights; press conferences and special events will be broadcast on Long Beach PADNET local cable channels. For broadcast schedules and more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com


Taylor Canfield (ISV)

Ian Williams    (GBR)

Harry Price      (AUS)

Sam Gilmour (AUS)

Chris Steele    (NZL)

Eric Monnin    (SUI)

Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)

Scott Dickson (USA)


Maxime Mesnil (FRA)

Leonard Takahashi (JPN)

Vladimar Lipavsky (RUS)

Peter Holz (USA)

Chris Poole (USA)

Johnie Berntsson (SWE)

Dave Hood (USA)

Dean Barker (USA)


The Congressional Cup is hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club, renowned for its outstanding hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of more than 300 member volunteers to host this Grade One competition. Since 1965 the world’s top ranked skippers have come here to vie for the esteemed Congressional Cup and the Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed to sailing icons like Dennis Conner, Dean Barker, Ken Read, Ted Turner, Taylor Canfield and more. Races are sailed in a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina monohulls designed specifically for the event, which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.




LONG BEACH, CALIF  26 March 2017 – Scott Dickson and David Storrs defeated young challengers Harry Price and Nevin Snow in the semi-finals of the 38th annual Ficker Cup held here today, with Dickson, representing Long Beach Yacht Club, going on to win the prestigious Ficker Cup trophy, and a spot in next week’s Congressional Cup regatta. As first runner up Storrs also advanced to Congressional Cup, which runs March 28 to April 2.

Dickson, who led after the double round robins, elected to race Price who – despite ranking no. 3 in the world – admitted to “struggling” in the 37-foot Catalina monohulls over the weekend. That left San Diego’s Snow to compete against Pequot Yacht Club’s Storrs.

In the final of three days of racing, starts were contentious with penalties a plenty, which continued up and down the course. Spectators on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier had a thrilling view of the show, as racers skimmed along the pier in intense pre-start maneuvers.

Sunday’s 6-8 knot southerly breeze was the lightest of the event, giving competitors a chance to test their prowess in a variety of conditions. And with the double round robins and more than one dozen races under their belts, the sailors were primed. Each pairing went 2:2 before the final flight, when Storrs dispatched Snow.

Meanwhile Dickson battled mightily in the semi-finals. Down 1:2 entering Flight Four, as the pressure increased – both wind and worry – Dickson pushed Price well past the top mark, dragging him so far off course the run to the gate turned into a reach. Tenacious, Dickson forced Price into a penalty, but sacrificed the lead. As they approached the finish Price, still holding a slim advantage, started his penalty turn and shut the door on Dickson. “Price did a wonderful job at that,” Dickson later said, adding he felt his tactics were “too aggressive, and not defensive enough.” Pinned out of the finish line, he started to douse and spin. But when Price finally exonerated his penalty, he ended up on port, establishing a port-starboard situation that pulled another penalty, giving Dickson the chance to squeeze across the line to victory. Dickson won those last two races.


By the time the finals commenced, the breeze had freshened. Dickson took the first two matches but Storrs battled back in the third; finally succumbing to Dickson in a very tightly raced match four – putting Dickson’s team in the victory seat.

Dickson is no stranger to Ficker Cup racing, and it showed. From 2000 through 2007 he owned the event, winning every title except for 2005. His second-place finish in Ficker Cup 2016 scored him a berth in last year’s Congressional Cup, where he sailed his way into the semi-finals and finished fourth among the field of international pros. His lucky charm this week was his father Roy Dickson, a legendary New Zealand yachtsman who faithfully watched every race.

“This was obviously a very special Ficker Cup to win, I’m very proud,” Dickson said, referring to the recent passing of Bill Ficker. “There were eight talented teams here, anyone of which could have qualified. I’m very pleased and proud of the team; they had their backs against the wall a number of times and showed their mettle.”

Finishing second, and qualifying for the Congressional Cup, “is just a massive thrill, the biggest event of my sailing career,” announced Storrs, with the exuberance of a kid. Several years ago, this septuagenarian underwent a heart transplant, and boasts his youthful heart has equipped him to take on younger rivals.

Storrs said he’s only been seriously match racing five or six years; prodded back into the sport after a 45-year hiatus by Dave Perry. “But the real hero in this is my wife. She said, ‘David you’re pretty old – you don’t have time to build up the experience like the young kids. If you’re going to do this, hire some pros and learn from them.’ And that’s been really thrilling; racing with really good people, and against really good people.” He lauded LBYC for their organization and hospitality, calling the Ficker Cup “the best event I’ve ever sailed in,” and eagerly looked forward to Congressional Cup.

Price won the first race of the Petite Finals, but Snow came from behind to win the next two races, and claim third place in the Ficker Cup. Snow is a two-time winner of the Everett Morris Memorial Trophy for Best Intercollegiate Sailor. An Olympic hopeful, he is a member of San Diego Yacht Club.

Price, representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, earned an automatic invitation to the Congressional Cup by winning last summer’s US Grand Slam Series. He will join the field of 11 other world-class yacht racing teams in the Congressional Cup next week.

Event Chairman Eric Dickinson said, “This Ficker Cup probably had some of the best talent we’ve seen in a long time. Having the breeze the first two days was great, because it let us complete the double round robins as planned,” adding that spectators “got their money’s worth.”

Dickinson continued, “I was very excited about having the viewing on the pier,” after winter storms temporarily closed the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier platform. “Being up here with the family, friends, club members and visiting yachtsman is a real treat other venues don’t enjoy. Kudos to Chris Macy for getting the pier squared away, and to all the racers, officials, and volunteers for making this such a great event.”

He added, “It was fantastic having Sid Gathrid and David Storrs compete this year. At 16, and 72 (respectively) their age span is a commentary on how anybody can compete in an event like this.” Noting that Storrs has advanced to Congressional Cup, he continued, “Sidney is young and didn’t have a lot of prior match racing experience. But he and his crew had the courage to come out here and mix it up with the pros, and win a few. I hope he left with his head held high, and will return!”

The Ficker Cup was established by Long Beach Yacht Club to honor Bill Ficker, who recently passed at the age of 89. Ficker was a renowned yachtsman, who won the Star Class World Championship in 1958, and helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup. Four years later, he won the Congressional Cup.


Although the Ficker Cup is considered the gateway to the Congressional Cup, it is a distinction in its own right, and a Grade Two event in the World Match Racing Tour. Past winners include John Kostecki, Phil Robertson, and Chris Steele … in 1991 Terry Hutchinson won the Ficker Cup, and Congressional Cup in 1992. Simone Ferrarese triumphed in the Ficker Cup in 2011, and Congressional Cup in 2013; while Taylor Canfield won Ficker Cup in 2013, and has reigned as the Congressional Cup champion since 2014.  Winning the Ficker Cup is a both an honor, and a portent.

Final Results             

  1. Scott Dickson
  2. David Storrs
  3. Nevin Snow
  4. Harry Price
  5. Vladimir Lipavsky
  6. Peter Holz
  7. Dave Hood
  8. Sidney Gathrid

For complete results please visit www.lbyc.org




LONG BEACH, CALIF  25 March 2017 – Storm clouds threatened Day Two of the 38th Ficker Cup regatta today, but the only tempest on the track was Long Beach Yacht Club’s Scott Dickson and team, who stormed the scoreboard with an 11-3 record, following up yesterday’s powerful start with six wins today.

Scott Dickson keeps his rivals at bay, on Day Two of Ficker Cup. Credit: Betsy Crowfoot/courtesy LBYC

The Ficker Cup is a World Match Racing Tour Grade Two event, and feeder to the prestigious Congressional Cup regatta. Both are hosted by LBYC, and raced in the waters adjacent the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

Dickson’s only loss today was to San Diego’s Nevin Snow, who also logged six wins, bowing to David Storrs. Both Snow and Storrs stand at 9 wins, 5 losses.

Snow credited “another day on the boat” with the improvement over yesterday, when his team finished 3-4. Racing the customized fleet of identical Catalina 37s is “more tactical than technical,” Snow explained. “You have to know the rules, be more thorough and think ahead. The racing is slower – but good.”

Harry Price and his Down Under Racing Team rebounded today with five wins, admitting he was “struggling” during yesterday’s Ficker Cup kick-off. Although he’d handily won the USA Grand Slam – a back-to-back series of match race regattas held in Detroit, Chicago and New York – he has more familiarity with smaller boats, saying it was only his second opportunity steering with a wheel (vs. a tiller). “Yesterday we ironed out quite a few mistakes … we’re glad to have this time on the bigger boat and a couple of extra days to iron things out,“ before the Congressional Cup next week. Price advances to tomorrow’s semi-finals along with Dickson, Storrs and Snow.

Officials noted Saturday was rife with excitement, between collisions, mixed breeze, dolphins, sea lions, and “a first.”

“I thought I’d seen everything in match racing,” said LBYC Waterfront Director Rick Roberts, until he noticed a private boat stopping in the midst of the course during a pre-start dial-up. Although warned about their precarious position, the boater refused to move … and continued with a hasty burial at sea: scattering their beloved’s ashes as David Hood and Peter Holz’ team barreled through.

Ficker Cup racing continues tomorrow, Sunday March 26, at noon. The top two finalists will advance to the Congressional Cup, held March 28 to April 2.

The Ficker Cup was established in 1980 by LBYC to honor Bill Ficker, who recently passed at the age of 89. An architect by trade, Ficker was a renowned yachtsman. He won the Star Class World Championship in 1958, and helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup. Four years later, he won the Congressional Cup.

For complete results please visit www.lbyc.org

Cumulative Results  Day 2  
1 Scott Dickson LBYC – 270 11-3
2 David Storrs USA – 22 9-5
3 Nevin Snow USA – 26 9-5
4 Harry Price AUS – 3 7-7
5 Vladimir Lipavsky RUS – 29 7-7
6 Peter Holz USA – 21 6-8
7 Dave Hood USA – 79 4-10
8 Sidney Gathrid USA – 293 3-11



LONG BEACH, CALIF  24 March 2017 – Long Beach Yacht Club kicked off the 38th annual Ficker Cup regatta with a tribute to the late Bill Ficker, bestowing the eight race teams with “Ficker is Quicker” flags, before continuing onto the race course to the type of competition that would have made Ficker proud.

“I think Bill would have loved today,” said Scott Dickson, whose LBYC team was in a three-way tie for first, at the end of day of this Grade Two match race regatta. “Bill often turned up here for the trophy presentation, so I was fortunate to have spent a lot of time with him,” added Dickson, whose team wore black armbands in Ficker’s honor. “We had superb conditions on the water and the teams all represented themselves well: I think Bill would have really appreciated that.”

The Ficker Cup was established in 1980 to honor Ficker, a renowned yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup, and won the Congressional Cup in 1974.  Part of the World Match Racing Tour, it is considered the gateway to the Congressional Cup – as the top two finalists advance to the Congressional Cup next week.

Today’s races, in the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier were held beneath blue skies and brisk breezes of 8 to 10 knots, building to 17 in the afternoon.

Competition was smart, with no shut-outs. At the top: Dickson, Vladimir Lipavsky, and David Storrs, each with five wins, two losses. At the bottom: Sid Gathrid, a 16-year old novice, whose sole win was against Storrs, age 72. Their span of ages gives true testament to the appeal and accessibility of the sport of match racing; and that one is neither never too old, nor too young, to give it a whirl.

Gathrid, who has been match racing less than a year, noted his excitement and appreciation at being invited, saying it was a great opportunity to sail against some of the top players in the game. And, he admitted, it was “pretty cool too”– as his rivals came by to shake his hand and congratulate the team for their performance.

Racing will continue Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26, beginning at roughly 12 noon. Spectator viewing is available from Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, or for

up-to-the-minute results please visit www.lbyc.org

Results  Day 1
1 David Storrs USA – 22
2 Scott Dickson LBYC – 270
3 Vladimir Lipavsky RUS – 29
4 Peter Holz USA – 21
5 Nevin Snow USA – 26
6 Dave Hood USA – 79
7 Harry Price AUS – 3
8 Sidney Gathrid USA – 293

Countdown to Congressional Cup 2017

Belmont Pier open for D.I.Y. viewing plus live-streaming coverage and commentary

LONG BEACH, CALIF  18 March 2017 – – In 10 days, world class match racing comes to Long Beach, California, with the 53rd running of the Congressional Cup regatta! This World Match Racing Tour championship event brings the top sailing talent from around the globe to the waters of Long Beach, Calif., March 28 to April 2, 2017.


Congressional Cup is the ‘granddaddy of match racing’ – an innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, and pioneer in on-the-water umpiring since 1988. With a reputation for warm hospitality and hot action, an invitation to the Congressional Cup is one of the most sought-after in the world of sailing. And this year’s line-up is impressive: including defending champion Taylor Canfield, ISV (World Sailing ranked no. 1) – with a trio of back-to-back Congressional Cup wins; reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson, NZL (no. 9); past winners Ian Williams, GBR (no. 4), and Johnie Berntsson, SWE (no. 56); plus Nicolai Sehested, DEN (no. 37) – who nearly toppled Canfield in last year’s finals. Also Sam Gilmour, AUS (no. 2); Harry Price, AUS, (no. 3); Chris Steele, NZL (no. 6); Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN (no. 12); Eric Monnin, SUI (no. 13); and two yet-unnamed contestants, to be determined in next week’s Ficker Cup Grade Two qualifier.


A succession of winter storms partially closed Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier and curtailed the elaborate and festive viewing platform which has been the standard for the last decade. However, Congressional Cup 2017 Chairman Joe Seibert announced, “The pier is open to spectators – providing the best viewing of the race course! So bring your chair, and come on down!”

2016 LBYC Con Cup action.

Racing will be “business as usual” Seibert added, with a single round robin, knock-out round, and quarter finals racing commencing Wednesday March 29, and culminating with semi-finals, finals and a fleet race Sunday April 2. Races begin at roughly 1130AM daily, and can be viewed off the pier at 39th Place in Long Beach, or visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for live streaming action and commentary.


The Ficker Cup was established by Long Beach Yacht Club to honor Bill Ficker, who recently passed at the age of 89. An architect by trade, Ficker was a renowned yachtsman. He won the Star Class World Championship in 1958, and helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup. Four years later, he won the Congressional Cup.

This year Ficker Cup will be held March 24 through 26, also in the vicinity of Belmont Pier. A WMRT World Tour Grade Two event, it is considered the gateway to the Congressional Cup, as the top two finalists advance to that event.


The Congressional Cup is presented by Long Beach Yacht Club, 6201 Appian Way;

one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. The club boasts an active volunteer force of more than 300 members who host every aspect of this week-long event. LBYC and associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event, which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.

The winning skipper of the Congressional Cup is awarded the coveted Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed to the top names in sailing over the years, including Ken Read, Gavin Brady, Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, and more.

Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com for more information.



Taylor Canfield                     ISV – 1

Sam Gilmour                        AUS – 2

Harry Price                           AUS – 3

Ian Williams                         GBR – 4

Chris Steele                         NZL – 6

Phil Robertson                     NZL – 9

Joachim Aschenbrenner      DEN – 12

Eric Monnin                          SUI – 13

Nicolai Sehested                  DEN – 37

Johnie Berntsson                 SWE – 56

Plus the top two finishers in the Ficker Cup


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APRIL 3, 2016 LONG BEACH, CALIF – – Umpire Stephen Van Dyck – who called winning tactics for America’s Cup skipper Bill Ficker – called it some of the most impressive Ficker Cup Presented by Porsche racing he’s seen.

“This is an extremely high level of competition; as great as I’ve seen in this event,” said the America’s Cup Hall of Famer. As racers jockeyed for the esteemed trophy into the late afternoon, Van Dyck added, “It’s very impressive, the standards the competitors have risen to.”

Spectators agreed: it was some of the most thrilling, and unpredictable racing, in the 16 year history of the Grade Two regatta. In the end, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) slid by Scott Dickson (USA) in a final, tenuous match – where leads changed at every mark – to win the Ficker Cup Presented by Porsche trophy, and a berth in the Congressional Cup, April 6 to 10.




16ConCup Logo

APRIL 1, 2016 LONG BEACH, CALIF – – The 52nd annual Congressional Cup regatta is just around the corner!

But first: The Ficker Cup Presented by Porsche – a three-day match racing contest – will determine which two skippers will advance to the Congressional Cup … and who will go home.

Leading the charge at the April 1 to 3 Ficker Cup Presented by Porsche is Johnie Berntsson (SWE, World Sailing ranked 11): champion of the 2009 Congressional Cup and a perennial favorite at host Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC). But there’s no telling what advantage local knowledge will bring to LBYC Sail-off winner Scott Dickson (USA, 388) and club member Dustin Durant (USA, 113); or to Steve Natvig (USA, 198), hot on his game following triumph in the recent California Dreamin’ Series.


Top Notch Match Racing Comes to Southern California With WMRT/CONGRESSIONAL CUP 2016

MARCH 2, 2016


World-class match racing comes to Southern California in April 6 to 10, with the 52nd Congressional Cup regatta, founded and hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC).

This rare opportunity to view the world’s top ranked skippers, in heated competition, is entirely free to the public. “Whether you’re a racer looking to improve your game, or an armchair sailor just out for an afternoon of entertainment – the Congressional Cup is for you,” says Chairman Camille Daniels.

“Our live commentators explain the ins and outs of match racing and tactics,” continues Daniels; while spectators also enjoy music and entertainment, refreshments, shaded bleachers, and an enthusiastic crowd of fellow boaters from far and wide. Races are held directly off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, and begin at roughly 11:30AM April 6 to 10.

“Junior Sailors, in particular, will be inspired about sailing, and match racing – the wave of the future in pro yacht racing – and have the chance to meet some of the men and women at the top of the sport: exemplary role models for young and old alike,” Daniels adds.

In match racing, competing teams race two at a time in identical boats, making each match a test of pure strategy and skill. Skippers try any trick in the book’ to outwit their opponents on the water, while on-the-water umpires hover nearby, to ensure fair play. And the event is pure excitement, as contenders race so close to the pier, viewers can practically reach out and touch the sails!

This year’s Congressional Cup line-up includes defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) battling challengers Sam Gilmour (AUS), Björn Hansen (SWE), Eric Monnin (SUI), Phil Robertson (NZL), Nicolai Sehested (DEN), Chris Steele (NZL), Keith Swinton (AUS), and reigning World Match Racing Tour Champion Ian Williams (GBR); plus the WMRT’s first female card holder, Sally Barkow (USA). Two final entrants will be determined April 1 to 3 in the Ficker Cup regatta.

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